Sometimes on this journey of life we really care about the way we look and feel. Yet, how successful you are at making the changes to the way you look and feel are determined by the mindset you take on. How much responsibility you take and then how easily you can accept yourself with where you’re at, who you are and what’s truly important to you matters immensely.
Responsibility and the ability to accept where you’re at are synergistic aspects that, if you can do both, give you the opportunity to both have a body that looks good and is healthy, while enjoying your journey.?
The rest of this post, is about 3 mindsets I see people take on when it comes to their eating and working out (amongst other aspects of life).
The hope is that in knowing where you’re currently at, you can make the leap to a more beneficial place.
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Level of Acceptance/Responsibility
A – Suffering
A lot of people will start in a place of “suffering.” They have a pain point where they’re not happy with themselves, their life or an aspect of their life. Not everyone necessarily starts in suffering, but for those that do, the difference is whether or not, you choose to stay in it.
I call this phase suffering only when you are abdicating responsibility for parts, or the totality, of your life to other things. This is the person who is in pain, but refuses to do what’s necessary to get out of pain.
This is the person who will blame circumstances, their past, other people, their job, where they live, and nearly any and every other thing they can in order to continue complaining, yet never taking the necessary steps to change the situation at hand.
If you’re in suffering, the most powerful thing you can do is start something that gives you back the power of personal responsibility.
Take action, sure. But own those actions.
Here’s the thing though, you can’t expect to change overnight or for the results you’re looking for to happen overnight. You have to make changes, and keep at it, without a deadline on your results.
If you can do that, then you’re onto the next phase.
B – Power
This phase is characterized by the phrase, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
If someone starts in suffering (not everyone does), then their next move is to the Power phase. This is where the person will become gung ho about change.
These are the “converts” to a specific methodology. If they didn’t feel great before, but started doing CrossFit and feel good, they typically will only recognize CrossFit as their rightful savior.
I’m not saying anything is wrong about being passionate about something you care for. In fact, you should be. But when you think you’re special because you do something and someone else doesn’t, then it might be an issue. Not everyone has the same priorities as you and that’s ok.
This phase can feel intoxicating and many people tend to stay here because of that intoxicating feeling. If you look on Instagram and Facebook and see a lot of inspirational quotes, you’ll typically see a lot of “Power” quotes and mindsets. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but half the time, they do sound judgmental.
So if you find something that works for you, recognize that you found something that works, for you. If a friend asks you what you did, tell them, but maybe qualify it with, “I know this worked for me. I’m not sure how it will work for you.” Try not to spread the gospel as the only thing that is and will ever work.
Funny how religion and fitness/nutrition, tend to have the same issues here.
The biggest issue with power is that your actions are inextricably linked with your self-worth. So, unless you’re taking specific actions (for example, working out hard or “eating clean” or running, etc), all the time, then you might not be as content with your life as you think you are.
If you’re in the power phase and you like your life, stay there. It’s fun and intoxicating. Enjoy it.
If you’re here though and have a gnawing sense that there is more out there while recognizing that you don’t have to be perfect, all the time, then you might be ready for the final phase.
C – Partnership/Acceptance
This last phase is a bit tricky to define, but basically, this phase is characterized by those who have moved past the suffering phase, know that they have the power to change circumstances, but also know that they are not going to be perfect. And here’s the thing. They don’t need to be perfect in order to be happy.
They can eat delicious food, not beat themselves up for it, and still workout like they would have done normally.
They can go out to eat with friends, have a drink and order something healthy and not feel weird about it.
In other words, this is the phase where someone is healthy, they have a body they’re content with, work for a better body, but not out of a place of suffering or fear, but out of a place of acceptance. They believe they can do better and since they can, they will. Not because they need to in order to feel better about themselves, but because, you know, “It’s cool.”
This place is radically different than when someone changes because they are suffering (Suffering) or they work harder because they feel like less of a person if they don’t (Power). This is where someone is healthy and wants to do and be better – but if they don’t, it doesn’t affect their self-worth. They are already whole and whatever they choose, is to enhance their life, not make their life.
Where are You Starting From?
So the question is, where are you starting from?
Are you in “Suffering” when it comes to eating, but “Power” when it comes to working out? Or vice versa?
Are you one of the enlightened bunch where you can accept yourself and others?
What do you want from your life, in terms of health and fitness? Do you want the best body, EVER???
Are you seeking self-worth from your workout pursuits?
And more importantly, why?
There is no right or wrong answer, but knowing where you’re at and what is motivating you to change can be highly empowering.
Once you have your starting point, the question becomes, what do you want to do next?
My personality tends to do things in bunches and so I usually try to limit myself when I get into new things, otherwise I become obssessed. This is why I don’t allow myself to play video games or start watching new TV shows. Every once in a while though, I allow myself to dive into something new and get fully immersed.
My latest kick are Broadway shows. Despite growing up in Weehawken and being ten minutes from Broadway my whole life, I had watched only three shows before last year. In the past 3 months, I’ve seen over 15 shows.
What does this have to do with you?
Well, there are commonalities when it comes to making changes to any part of your life – from adding a hobby such as Broadway to you transforming your body. As such, below are 3 lessons you can pull from my Broadway kick to you achieving your fitness goals.
3 Body Transformation Lessons from My Broadway Kick
1 – Know Why You Started Isn’t Why You’ll Continue
Often times why we start something, is not why we choose to continue it.
I had started to watch shows with one particular person, but when we stopped going together, I started to watch more at a higher rate and ended up enjoying them more. For the past couple of months, really since the inaugaration, I’ve needed some more “uplifting” distractions and they have served that purpose amazingly (especially Come From Away).
Read the rest of Broadway and 3 Body Transformation Lessons
In the last newsletter, I talked about Doing a Time Log to figure out when you have time gaps that you can use to your advantage.
Today, I’m going to talk about how to find ways to increase your discipline to actually use that time productively.
“No Time” Isn’t Just About Having “No Time”
I own a personal training studio (which means I have 24-hour access to gym equipment) and I’m generally comfortable on getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep per night, which means I literally can’t use the excuse of “No time” to not workout…like ever. Yet, sometimes I use this excuse.
Do I have the time? Yes.
Do I have the will when I “have the time?” Not always.
What most people mean when they say they “don’t’ have time” is that they are usually not physically, mentally or emotionally ready to do the thing that only requires 15 minutes.
Beyond time, you need to be able to have those additional resources available to you.
This is why people will complain about not having any time, yet watch 2 hours of TV at night. Because to watch TV requires no additional resources. You don’t’ need to be physically ready for it. You don’t need to be mentally ready for it. And you don’t need to be emotionally ready for it. This is why if a show is one you do have to pay attention to, you will often delay that until you feel you can focus on it.
This is the real reason most people will use the “I don’t have time” excuse for not working out or eating right.
It’s not only time that’s needed – it’s also discipline and actual physical energy.
Find Ways to Restore Yourself
Have you ever been around someone who says things that really get under your skin, but you can’t say anything against it because it wouldn’t be worth the effort?
If so, then you know what requires emotional labor. Emotional labor can be taxing, especially if you don’t like your boss or you work with people and you lean more towards being an introvert.
Or have you studied for an exam or researched something for work that left you mentally exhausted. Or have you ever gotten a bad night of sleep and then had to work 12+ hours?
If so, then you know how easy it can be to be emotionally, mentally or physically drained and to simply use the “I don’t have time” excuse.
So then the question becomes, how can you “restore” yourself to get the energy back to remain disciplined after a long day?
The key is to find something that revives you and that allows you to simply get started on the activity that you say you “don’t’ have enough time” for.
For example, If I’ve had a long day and am spent from “emotional labor” reading or meditating often tends to recalibrate my brain and allows me to bounce back.
If I’m exhausted physically from lack of sleep and being on my feet for 14-hours, then foam rolling relieves some stress and frees up some energy for me to at least get started with working out.
If I’ve been in front of my computer for the past 12-hours, then eating a snack and taking a small nap (I’ve perfected the 8-minute nap) is a way to help relieve something mentally taxing.
Obviously, these are things that work for me. And still sometimes, the TV wins, but a lot less often than if I don’t’ do these things.
For others, it might be watching 5-10 minutes of a comedy show on your phone, that allows you to bounce back from an emotionally draining day.
If you’re exhausted, sometimes signing up for a class where you have to show up, gives you that impetus to get started and that allows you to move past the hardest part of working out – showing up.
If you’re mentally drained, maybe talking to a friend is the way you get around the exhaustion.
No matter what you choose, knowing how to bounce back, at least a little, to give yourself that extra energy that allows you to get started can be the difference between achieving your goals versus being even further away from where you want to be.
All of these things are really about increasing your discipline to do the things that will ultimately make you better.
Banish the “No Time” Excuse Forever
The key to banishing the “No Time” Excuse forever is finding short, but effective ways that helps you to restore you mental, physical and emotional energy so you can get started on things that will improve your life. Here are 3 questions to start with:
1 – What can you do to help restore your emotional energy, after a long day? (examples include, reading, journaling, writing, talking to friends, watching something funny, etc)
2 – What can you do to help restore your mental energy? (examples include eating a high protein meal with a little bit of carbs, making sure you drink enough water, taking a small nap, laughing with a friend, meditating, working out, etc.)
3 – What can you do help restore your physical energy? (examples include eating a high protein meal with a little carbs and fat, making sure you’re hydrated, taking a small nap, meditating, stretching, foam rolling, getting a massage, doing a light workout, etc)
A – How can you use those techniques to get rid of the “No Time” excuse for working out?
B – What would you need to do to get-in 3 to 5 workouts next week (the week of Thanksgiving)?
Next week, I’ll discuss the one thing we can all do that has been proven to increase discipline overall and requires no extra emotional or physical energy. Until then, answer those questions and find the techniques that can help you overcome an emotionally, mentally and physically draining day. Cheers!
You may have not known this, but there is an election about to happen. I know, shocking!
And as important, as it is to choose a candidate, there are choices you have to make daily that may be even more important – how you spend your time is one of those decisions.
If there is one thing I’ve heard more than anything else for working out, it’s “I don’t have enough time.”
Yet, when’s the last time you actually looked at how you spend your time.
Step 1 – Track How You’re Spending Your Time
If we had problems with cash flow, we would make a budget, which would give us a better idea as to how you were spending your money. Yet most of us don’t really know how we spend our days.
Some people are truly productive, some are good at wasting time and others are good depending on the day.
So if you use “I don’t have enough time” as an excuse to not workout or eat healthy, I want you for one weekend day (today) and one weekday (tomorrow), to simply fill out how you spend your time.
Attached is a sheet you can use to track your time or you can use a time tracking app, such as Toggl or Hours Keeper (iPhone | Android).
Step 2 – Become Aware of Where You Have Time Gaps that You can Change
Then, after you’ve tracked how you spend your time for a couple of days, ask yourself these 5 questions:
1 – How are you spending your time?
Are you spending your time doing things that you truly enjoy and things you “have to do” or are you wasting time on Facebook or other activities that don’t leave you feeling satisfied with how you’re spending your time.
2 – What are your top priorities, from a purely, how you’re spending your time perspective?
Don’t judge yourself for it, but simply take notice of it and be aware of how you’re spending your time.
3 – How does the time you spend match with what you want from your life?
4 – What are the activities that are your “time suckers?” Things that take up time, but don’t really benefit you.
5 – How can you start to change your “time suckers” for activities that are more aligned with your priorities?
Time is the only invaluable resource we have. It’s the one thing that we all have the same amount of each day and the only difference is in how we use it.
Step 3 – Find a Way to Clear-up some Time
Whenever I open my Facebook app, I look at the clock and literally catch myself saying, “Ok, only 3 minutes.”
25 minutes later, I’m like, “I could’ve gotten so much more done!”
The Facebook app is a time sucker for many people. One of the ways I’ve drastically reduced that is by getting rid of any and all notifications and as such, it doesn’t draw me in as often.
Cutting down on a time sucker can sometimes be as easy as getting rid of notifications.
Planning is another. Sometimes, simply making a list of things you want and need to do, and then prioritizing them with a time-goal to hit each one, allows you to focus on the things you want to do more often.
When I make workout routines for people, I often place the most important things first – the movements that have the most impact for the client, while moving them towards their goals most effectively and that they won’t necessarily do on their own.
This way, as the workout progresses, if we need to spend more time on a primary movement, we can and if we don’t get to something that’s not as important it doesn’t impede their workout or progress as much.
This is how you should schedule and plan your days – with the things that matter most having a priority over less important things.
Business woman looking on option and select no decision isolated on white background
Learning to say ‘No’ is another way to clear up time.
Saying no can be towards events that won’t be aligned with your priorities or it can be no to a current responsibility that takes too much precedent over your time.
I’ve given you three examples as to how you can clear-up some time, but feel free to be as inventive as you want.
Step 4 – Start with one 15-Minute Time Gap Doing Something Important to You
Now that you’ve found a way to find more time within your day. Use that time gap, at least 15-minutes per day, to do something that’s more aligned with your priorities.
If you can find more time, then use it. But if not, start with at least 15-minutes.
Sometimes things are hard to change. Sometimes it’s just as easy as not getting notifications on your phone.
Finding and reprioritizing 15-minutes of your day can sometimes be simple, just by becoming aware of how you’re spending your time. Fill out the Time Tracker for this Sunday and Monday and see where you can find those 15-minutes. Cheers!